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tv   Inside Story 2019 Ep 85  Al Jazeera  March 27, 2019 3:32am-4:01am +03

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the public eye since suffering a stroke in twenty thirteen as prime minister is threatening further action against gaza amid the biggest israeli palestinian escalation in months there have been reports of sirens in southern israel and a rocket lands in there as well as fresh israeli air strikes on the southern gaza strip and the u.n. secretary general is calling for a deescalation of tensions in gaza and tonio good terrorists is urging restraint for all parties involved. the charity save the children says seven people have been killed in an air strike on a hospital it supports in yemen four children are among the dead the charity says a missile struck a gas station the entrance to the kids of hospital just outside the city of souther . well those are the headlines the u.s. continues here after inside.
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the golan heights is your territory donald trump says the u.s. recognizes israel's sovereignty over the occupied syrian land it's a benjamin netanyahu election campaign but condemned by world leaders is trump helping or hindering peace in the middle east this is inside story. and welcome to the program i'm nick clegg so u.s. president donald trump has done it again in his latest controversial move he has recognized israeli sovereignty over the occupied golan heights ending decades of
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u.s. policy towards the region embattled israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu was present when trump signed the order israel captured the territory in one thousand nine hundred sixty seven and i mixed it in one thousand nine hundred one in a move not recognised internationally syria says trump's decision is a blatant attack on its sovereignty the united nations says the status of the golan heights remains unchanged well trump seems unmoved by the criticism today i'm taking historic action to promote israel's ability to defend itself and really to have a very powerful very strong national security which they're entitled to have. in a moment i will sign a presidential proclamation recognizing israel's sovereign right over the golan heights the state of israel took control of the golan heights in one thousand nine sixty seven to safeguard security from external threats well as you can imagine
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the proclamation was welcomed by b. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu who's fighting an election in less than two weeks your decision to recognize israel sovereignty on the golan heights is so historic your recognition is a two fold act of historic justice israel won the golden heights in a just war of self defense and the jewish people's roots in the golan go back thousands of years so why is the occupied golan heights of such for teaching importance to israel well the mountainous region provide to the country with an excellent vantage point for monitoring movements in syria and provides the natural buffer against any military aggression the area is also a major source of water rainwater from the goldmans catchment feeds into the jordan river providing a third of israel's needs the land is fertile and the volcanic soil is perfect for
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even yards orchards and grazing for livestock. all right let's introduce panel in beirut's we have rami hoary who's a senior fellow at the is some fathers institute for public policy at the american university of beirut in geneva we have a shadow on geneva director and middle east analyst that independent diplomats which is a nonprofit advisory group that advises governments and democratic groups across the world and in washington d.c. i'm glad to say we're joined by eugene contador of which he is a director of international law at the car led to policy forum in jerusalem also advised both the israeli and the american governments on the occupied golan heights so welcome to you all gentlemen rami khouri i'd like to start with you donald trump said it would happen it has what's your take. it's a dangerous move but in keeping with trump's policy the trump question or approach
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actually trump cushion or no good approach has been very much to do whatever the right wing in israel wants the netanyahu government with the right the jerusalem to see move of the united states recognizing all jerusalem as the capital of israel and now the golan move cutting assistance to palestinians through a another means this is very much part of a trompe and policy which is rejected by virtually the whole world is one or two small states here and there that go along with it the danger is not only with the impact on the middle east which will be more rhetorical than actual in the short from probably but the danger is that it sets a new pattern by which the united states tells the world that whatever the united states wants will happen across the world or you will be sanctioned or you will be . your money will be withdrawn or something will happen to you and it says that whatever israel wants in the levant at least in the arab israeli arena will prevail over any international law or the rights of other people so there's
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a double threat and the trump move on the golan heights and there's often possibly more to come if israel tries to annex the west bank the arabs are not in a position to do anything right now militarily and then the other way against this the danger is that the foundations of international law and basic ethics globally will will crumble simply because donald trump and cushion are and their supporters on the right wing evangelical and pros imus movements in the us want this to happen all right we'll get into all of that in the next twenty minutes or so but fs shot on the thing is it does not actually change anything on the ground the status quo is completely maintained isn't it. on the surface of it i would say yes i mean to morrow and the children in the golan heights are going to wake up go to school nothing seems to have changed in fact for the israeli public as well things will probably feel even you know more comfortable than they were before and there was there is a sort of
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a consensus in israel that the golan belongs to them. and so this will be business as usual but in reality this is not really business as usual. the you know the geneva conventions and the hague conventions on occupation the un charter and all of that were crafted not by radical extremist leftists or militants but by military personnel by diplomats seasoned diplomats who at the end of the first and second world war realized that it was better to actually have international law and have legal. frameworks to actually set of disputes between the countries especially in so far as occupation is concerned and by. discarding and not listening you know veiling themselves of all of this experience what has happened is that you are effectively taking the possibility of those negotiations under these frameworks outside and so you're only left with. the violent means to resolve
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this feud between see syria in this case and its potential allies and israel ok let's throw that to washington d.c. and eugenia contra which. contravenes international law sets a bad precedent and opens the door for other nations to take territory what do you say to that. israeli sovereignty over the go on heights in the u.s. recognition of it is entirely consistent with international law and indeed this long delayed recognition actually is going to contribute to security and deter aggression international law bans the use of force in aggressive wars wars where one country is attacking another on the other hand it says that self-defense is an inherent right of countries so not all uses of force are illegal international law might say that if you conduct a war of aggression you cannot benefit from it by taking territory but when the
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underlying war is illegal when it's defensive when it's not condemned by the united nations then it is not and it is not impossible to take territory in such a war and that's the difference between the go on in crimea when russia took crimea it was in a coup or a war of aggression and the united nations condemned it as such in one thousand nine hundred seven the united nations which is no friend of israel did not condemn israel's use of force because it was a clear defensive war israel defended itself from an effort by the syria and egypt to destroy it in one thousand nine hundred seven and there have been fifty two years of syrian attempts to destroy israel ever since so i don't think a rule that says if you take a small amount of territory when you are defending from an attack continue to be attacked by that same enemy for fifty two years then that might be recognized as part of your territory that's not going to set any kind of destabilising precedent indeed if you have the contrary rule that no matter how many times
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a country attacks you can never lose territory that is an invitation to aggression that doesn't like to rummage around me and there is a route to run so is this move is entirely consistent with international law or would you say to that. well that's what you know in the extreme right wing in israel is say this is political government the gook masquerading as legal niceties the fact is you cannot acquire territory you can use force to defend yourself absolutely and people do it all the time you cannot acquire territory by force that's what the united nations resolutions and all the other international standards say so this defensive argument that the israel should keep the golan because it was a plane that in the defense of war is rejected by the entire world i mean if this was a rational argument it would have been accepted years and years ago it's not a rational argument it's a political ploy which the israeli right wing is using and it has the man in the white house now who will go along with this based partly on his ignorance of the
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facts and based partly on his reliance on very pro israeli political groups and donors and evangelical groups and people of that sort so this is not a serious argument and the world really should just ignore it and get on with the business of generating a peace agreement that brings peace to both sides really let some retained their original territory and guaranteed security for everybody in the region that's the route to peace right using is certainly true isn't the cherry very little international support for this quite to the contrary i challenge rami to far there's a difference between political support and legal precedent and i challenge rami to identify a single precedent in which it has been said that a country is not allowed to acquire territory through a defensive war as i demonstrate in my academic writing it's quite clear that even the un in one thousand nine hundred sixty seven said it was unclear whether there was any rule against the acquisition of territory in the defensive war only after
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israel acquired the toy that people start reconsidering whether that's a good rule but in one thousand seven it is quite clear there was no such there's no such rule there was no precedent and i would challenge anyone to identify a contrary precedent and. international law is not a popularity contest we don't do a survey to find out what the rules are we look for precedents and we look for binding rules there are no binding contrary precedents whatsoever all right gentlemen i think this is something we just going to have to at this point agree to disagree on because it we could go on all night about this and i suspect will be the first thing that we're going to disagree on or the panel is going to disagree on and if i can come to you you did allude to this as to where this where this could all end maybe the west bank is next. i mean i definitely think that they'll be repercussions i don't think we agree to disagree in like to point that out israel and that conflict in general is has a great emotional charge and israel is always looking for very strong judicial
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arguments to defend its position on the west bank it's used the. very minute detail of the absence of a sovereign and so that they've occupied territory but then since their words in the solvent and now this issue of the fence however what makes international law international is the fact that it's not just israel it's an international consensus on both of these issues whether it's all the states really all the states with the exception of israel and now just one the u.s. which doesn't make it right agreed that israel has occupied the golan heights and the same thing goes for the one thousand nine hundred sixty seven occupation of the west bank now the next move is there finitely that israel is most likely going to actually recommend the annexation of area c. which is a part of the west bank actually the majority of its where settlers are moving and living and where israelis already applying its own national law in violation to h.l.
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there are other stakeholders that determine what the international law says and does and that's the i.c.r.c. and other international mechanisms related to that including here the human rights councils and the treaty bodies who all unilaterally and this is public because you can check it on their side also declare both of these territories to be occupied. i think that for israel the main issue what i like is the settlers who tend to actually be very honest about that because they don't resort to international law argument they resort to the policy of the deeds israel was founded on the policy of the deeds and that's the argument that they always say that since israel was founded like this why can't it continue on acquiring the rest of the territories that we're using let me put this to you this issue about the west bank is this what you would anticipate that the west bank is next. but we know that president trump is going to put forward a peace plan and again i think it's important to remind the viewers that these
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territories israel has offered up for peace multiple times in the past fifty two years have been multiple credible offers where israel along with the united states has said we will give this up in exchange for peace and the palestinians the other arab actors did not accept there's going to be another attempt to do that but i think it's important to know that time cannot stand still for ever an area cannot be frozen in limbo by a rejection by the aggressor side to make peace and i think it's quite clear that if the palestinians do not accept a generous offer again for the fifth time no other people seeking international self dependence independence has ever rejected an internationally backed offer of statehood within even part of their borders imagine of the kurds were offered a state and part of their borders they would for sure say yes the palestinians have said no over and over again i think one message to president trump or sending them is at some point you have to either say yes or you know no becomes some kind of acceptance of the status quo do you think grammy the president trump is actually
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has done this in a tactical sense of he's looking ahead to the peace process to the so-called deal of the century that this is going to come into play there in some shape or form. i think president trump is looking short term at his election prospects coming up after he lost the house of representatives in the midterm election he's looking at is political donors he's looking at the eventual right is looking at child native son and the many people who give him the support from different groups in the united states different lobbies different supporters is looking at the netanyahu election coming up he's looking at what his son in law a jerk questioner is telling him and jerk question it doesn't really know very much about this region has been a friend of netanyahu has since teenage days or something like that so he's looking at the forces and interests around him that are almost totally pro israeli and the right wing of the israelis are in this spectrum so i don't think which of them
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think that from has any kind of long term strategy in place what but what is that what this is consistent with is a promptly on tendency to basically lay down the law not just for jerusalem and the golan and the west bank and israel and palestine but the basically laid down the law for the whole world now that there's the trump is saying he doesn't want germany to import gas from russia and if it does it's going to be sanctions he's sanctioning countries that do business with iran so this is the real bigger danger in this move it's not the narrow issue of just the golan and they arbitrarily conflict it's the bigger issue that we have a kind of runaway train wreck in the united states white house that's essentially telling the world the u.s. is going to lay down the law for the entire world and if you don't go along with us we're going to sanction you we're going to do something terrible to you we're going to withdraw money and that's the that's the the real danger you know just bring it back to the peace process what's your sense that this proclamation if you like has
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done to the peace process where are we with this so called deal of the century. i mean gerrard's plan and that deal is. in essence an israeli american the i haven't heard the palestinians the parties or palestinian authority respond positively to any of these deals we haven't heard the arabs come forward countries and so on. you know towards those deals it's a no deal so for her i don't think it's going to go very far. rami says is right in the sense however that you know with might so they can push for some of some of these policies naftali bennett for instance in israel is talking to two to the settlers and he's a settler leader himself obviously and they're talking with some of the
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palestinians in the west bank trying to actually find little deals there and so on and so forth to assert. their secure their forces there but at the end of the day all this demonstrates to the extremists so the elements that are radicalizing themselves in the arab world that basically in the arab cruisin you know the arab psyche their leaders and all the others are not actually having the mind and the capacity to stand up to israel and that fuels all that extremism and so i think that on the long term it's not actually leading to a just and sustainable solution including for the israelis. on that front just a sustainable solution and also a peaceful solution in response to this is you know syria has vowed to recover the area through all available means russia has warned the decree could drive a new wave of tensions in the middle east region turkey said it's impossible to accept the united states decree how is this good for peace in the region. well
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first of all the syrian protests in syria and threats of violence should be taken with a grain of salt because syria has for the past fifty two years constantly been attacking israel iran the syria's real power and control has been trying to open up a northern thrown against israel for decades so it's not just syria all of a sudden is upset with israel the syrian threat has been there from the beginning israel is now better position to protect itself from the syrian threat and i think it's very good for peace because previously the view was if countries attack israel and gain some territory no one will ever force them to leave. because they don't care about international law it's very hard to pressure them we saw that syria and iran act of total disregard for international law if on the other hand they miscalculate and israel get gains an advantage israel will have to return it one so it seems attacking israel would be a no brainer strategy you win if you win and you don't lose if you lose this
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creates a new formula if you will you actually will lose and that is going to discourage aggression that's going to show that aggression has a price if you lead you actually will lose this is good for peace rami khouri what do you say to that. this is the trump in netanyahu is i am just right wing view that they have a force they can use it they can dominate the region as they want they're going to plumb all their enemies or their foes into submission as they're trying to do with the palestinians but but it doesn't work it doesn't work and the best best example of this is the jewish people themselves who thousands of years later and system having their state and achieved that the people don't go away when you treat them like animals they they resist they have to fight back and they keep working and any way they can the arabs have clearly put on the table a peace plan that once was says we will exist peacefully with israel with normal
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relations secure borders and all that so the the israelis and the arabs have an opportunity to negotiate a comprehensive and just peace that's just to both sides the arabs are not going any situation where they're going to attack israel anybody who attacks israel with its nuclear weapons and american support is going to be nuts so nobody is going to act israel this is very a traditional pro right wing zionist israeli propaganda and we're hearing it all the time are wrong it is also here on the house and it is really his attitude to the conflict as a peace agreement. eugene usually has mentioned he is here i can tell you here i mean. yes he did it it yes it injured seven people in israel israel has injured thirty one thousand palestinians in the last year and killed over two hundred thirty one thousand palestinians have been injured mostly along the guise of a border so there is a war going on people are going to keep attacking each other we want to stop the war we don't want to create conditions on the ground of permanent occupation and
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the kind of tax of israel that's after it will have their answers ago that kills thousands and thousands of people like i say we're running out of time we're going to bottom in all of that if you. just want to put to you that the trumpets as move unilaterally in the middle east on several occasions flying in the face of international opinion perhaps this is a smart move off the years of zero progress in the region just shake things up and see if we can get some reaction towards peace. i mean he is shaking things up doesn't mean that it's going to be of the way he wants i mean george bush shook things up when he invaded iraq at the time the u.s. standing in the region was relatively good at the end today the u.s. standing in the region actually is quite weak and the iranians are now actually in a stronger position than they were back then eyes for see something very similar happening here whereby we have very short term solutions being pushed down the
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throat of everyone in the region to the benefit to their right wing israelis not even the whole benefit of the situation what happens when they annex the area c. and start having questions about can you be a jewish state or a democracy there's plenty of questions and let us not forget that the issue here of the golan height is not so much security in military terms the way that it is pretreated because with the new drones and the revolutionary in military affairs with satellites and imagery and the possibility of negotiating a no man's land and so on and so forth it's not really about that it's about access to water and water is drying up fast in the region we work on climate change at the idea and i can tell you that in the region water is going to disappear quite rapidly the golan heights is one of the very few sources there it provides thirty percent of israel's water seventy percent of its portable water this is why israel wants the golan heights more than anything in right well water generals rizzoli ogi
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when water is one of the issues gentlemen we have run out of time i'm sorry we're going to have to jump in there but do appreciate your perspectives on this thank you to all our guests that ceramic curry to graham shot on eugene contour of which thank you to you for watching you can see this program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com ford slash a.j. inside story and you can also join the conversation on twitter our handle is at a.j. inside story for me nick luck and the whole team here it is good bye for now. i .
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